The excellent blog ClimbingHouse.com recently took a look at the ad content in 3 of the major U.S. climbing magazines (Climbing, Rock & Ice and Dead Point Magazine). While not a new topic per se, they were able to put a cool twist on the subject by going through a recent issue of DPM and blacking out all the ads:
In a followup post, ClimbingHouse compared the percentage of ads (based on their criteria) in each of the 3 magazines with somewhat surprising results. Obviously ads are a necessary part of the magazine publication process, but I thought these were two interesting looks at the subject.
On a related note, alpinist Kelly Cordes recently posted some thoughts while reviewing latest issue of Alpinist that I thought were quite interesting:
…there must be something intrinsic to commitment that lends itself to great storytelling, which might explain why, unfortunately, virtually zero good literature exists about sport climbing/bouldering/cragging – not trying to rip on those crafts, fun as they are, utterly mind-blowing athletically at the high end, and much as I enjoy them. It seems it should create some good lit, though – unless I’m just missing it (along with the longtime climbing historians and literature buffs, and the book festival jurors) – surely similar attributes and drive exist among the dedicated. Hell, people live in their cars, make huge sacrifices, get maniacally obsessed with a little chunk of obscure stone, all in order to clip bolts and do boulder problems. Why the lack of great writing? Surely they’re not all illiterate. Hell, brain-damaged alpinists manage to write historically great mountain literature.
Despite the fact that I enjoy reading (and writing) about the latest and greatest high end rock climbing news, quality literature (as Cordes puts it) on the subject does seem to be lacking of late in the magazines. I can’t remember the last time I read an issue of DPM, Climbing, Urban Climber or R&I more than once, and lately I’ve been mostly skimming the articles whenever the mags come in the mail. Contrast that with a magazine like Alpinist that it takes literally weeks to read with all the excellent articles. In the year I’ve been a subscriber to Alpinist I’ve already gone back and re-read parts of all the issues. Then again, Alpinist costs almost twice as much to get half the issues of the other mags.
This brings me to something I’ve given major thought to of late. I currently have subscriptions to Alpinist, R&I, Urban Climber and Climbing with 1 of the 4 seemingly up for renewal every couple of months. For years I’ve just blindly renewed them, but that may be changing very soon.
What are your thoughts on the current state of the climbing magazine industry? Is there one magazine you feel has quality articles that I might be missing? If you could only subscribe to one magazine, which one would it be? Share your thoughts in the comments.